Gym Tip: Strategies To Get More Done In Less Time
At one of my first jobs as a gym receptionist, I observed all sorts of people. The one that struck me the most?
The guy who had all of the time in the world.
He would saunter into reception, scan his card and disappear into the change rooms. 20 minutes later, he would emerge fully suited up. At this point, he loved a good chat and sometimes we could spend another 20 minutes chatting about life. When I asked him what he was doing today, he always replied,
"I'm not sure, maybe some arms, some chest, some legs if I feel like it."
Then he would wonder off into the gym, only to return two hours later without a bead of sweat on his brow.
Every single day was the same.
Comparing him to the types of guys I work with these days, there's a world of difference.
The high-performing men I work with now don't have the luxury of 2 hours to waltz around. They need results and need them in an efficient and effective manner. The gym is a tool to enhance their performance, not a place to waste time. They'd rather waste it on their family and friends.
So, when you only have 30 minutes of time to spare for the gym, what do you do?
Walk around and pick a few machines to use?
Observe the girls in the yoga studio during some extended rest periods?
Maybe jump on the bike?
Here's some things to consider to make the most of your precious time.
1. Plan Of Attack
Walk into the gym with one clear mission in mind. Knowing exactly what needs to be done eliminates any mental fatigue and indecisiveness. You get in, execute, then get out.
This includes all the exercises you want to do, the weights which should be lifted and the sets and rep goals you want to hit.
Another good thing to have in your plan is a go to warmup. Five minutes which loosens up any stiff muscles or joints and prepares the body and mind to switch on and train.
Here is mine, which can be extended or reduced depending on how I feel and how much time I have.
2. All Exercises Are Not Created Equal
There are some exercises which are considered more 'bang for your buck', meaning you get more benefit in less time (exactly what we want).
The following exercises, and their variations, should make up the bulk of your session.
These are called compound movements, as multiple muscle groups are being used together. Free weights (using dumbbells or barbells) will always stimulate more muscle than machines, so will be the better option of the two.
3. Rest Periods Are Overrated
You simply can't lift a heavy weight 10 times, rest 10 seconds, then expect to be able to lift it 10 times again.
Rest periods cannot be avoided.
But they can be used effectively.
Supersets form when you pair two exercises together and complete them in an alternating fashion. The best superset pairs are when the exercises use different muscle to each other, such as pairing a lower body and upper body exercise.
You complete the lower body exercise and need at least 60 seconds before you can go again.
Instead of waiting, you complete an upper body exercise. The lower body still gets it's rest and you get more work done.
This let's you get almost twice as much work done in the same amount of time. It also has the benefit of raising the metabolism and heart rate - talk about efficiency!
4. Mobility To Fill The Gaps
Supersets are extremely efficient, but can be taxing on the body. You are essentially not resting very much at all and some people won't be able to handle this.
Instead, complete mobility fillers.
These are easy exercises where the goal is improved movement. Since they are not at all tiring, they allow full recovery between sets of an exercise but allow you do improve other aspects of your fitness instead of just waiting around. Awesome for guys who feel stiff, have injuries or want to get impress others by doing the splits.
My go to mobility fillers include:
Bench thoracic extensions
Down-dogs with hip flexor pulses
5. Go Distraction Free
Bluetooth headphones in, phone on aeroplane mode with my workout playlist blasting - that's how I do it.
Headphones seem to emanate an aura of 'don't talk to me right now', which is perfect for when you're in the gym trying to be as efficient as possible. I like bluetooth as there are no cords to tangle with (pun intended).
Turning your phone onto aeroplane mode can also do wonders. The distraction of the magic little screen, buzzing and flashing, can be off putting. An email can wait 30 minutes. The world won't end. You just focus on you right now.
The gym can be a loud, confusing and distracting environment. As the web-famous, New York hustler Gary Vaynerchuk says,
"Want to get more work done? Work smarter."
The same goes for the gym.
Plan, then execute.
Efficiency and effectiveness are not just business terms.